• Week Of 12/23 - 12/29
  • SU23
  • MO24
  • TU25
  • WE26
  • TH27
  • FR28
  • SA29
Track Handicapper Darin Zocali's Bio
Darin Z  RACE REVIEWS by Darin Zoccali A thoroughbred and standardbred racing announcer and analyst, Darin works for several racetracks including the Meadowlands, Parx Racing at Philadelphia Park and Tioga Downs.  He is also a regular fill in on Sirius XM Radio's Down The Stretch broadcast.  He is a graduate of St John's University (class of 2005) and is one of the youngest announcers/broadcasters in the racing business.

Race Reviews For Saturday, December 29, 2012

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 4-1-9-7
H Horse Comment
1 RELENTLESS DREAMER Enters this wide open race with one qualifier off a 2 month layoff. I like how he finished up in there too. Maybe.
2 TROTTOWN KING His last race was a step in the right direction, but the long Meadowlands stretch is an unknown factor. Watching one.
3 THANKS FOR STOPPIN Post 8 from Yonkers is an automatic toss-out, so disregard his last race. Has won here. Might offer some value.
4 MCTURESQUE Winner from last is in the B-1 (Race 8) tonight. That was a quick mile too. Previous form jumps off the page. Contender.
5 PRINCE SHARKA Enters this off a good qualifier and a 10 week layoff. Winner of that qualifier is in the nw3 (Race 3) tonight. A share?
6 LUCKY LAND Just 1 for 25 on the season and his recent form has been below par. He has won here, but requires a form reversal now.
7 NIGHT TRAIN SHANE This will be his 80th start in the last 2 years making this 8 year old an iron horse. Recent form is decent. Possible.
8 RAYMOND J Did some good work against three year olds in the Excelsior Series in New York. Recent form is dull. Mixed feelings here.
9 CHEYENNE UMBERTO Got down to the lowest level he has seen in some time and returned dividends. Steps up, but he is sharpening up.
10 BETTOR WIN Barn change for a gelding that has been earning checks lately. I’m not sure he has the early speed to overcome the post.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 3-2-8-4
H Horse Comment
1 SAYWHATUNEEDTOSAY He has tailed off in his last pair of starts, but shows some decent races too. Needs to rebound in this spot.
2 SOUTHERN SPORT His best race was arguably his first of the 2012 winter meet. Off his last qualifier, he may be poised for a big effort.
3 MYSTIC DESIRE That is a sharp qualifier at Freehold. Had a nice win in Philly prior to taking a month off. Tons of back class. Contender.
4 UPFRONT TICKET Made the lead from the 8 hole at The Spa and in Philly, so it’s safe to guess he’s leaving. Speed makes him dangerous.
5 FOOL OF IDEAS I would call this a bit of class relief as this field is comparable to what he beat on 11/29. Perfect post. Things to like here.
6 ALEX BULLVILLE Appeared like he needed that qualifier. Off for over five months so I will need to see a start before I can recommend.
7 MIGHT YOUNG JOE Those last two fields were too tough, so don’t hold that against him. Chiodo does a good job keeping him fresh.
8 BOLDER His last race wasn’t bad and his prior race was good. Might be worth a gamble that the long stretch will help him. Offers value.
9 HANDSOME HARRY This horse was a terror in his younger days. At 4, he won a leg of the Aquarius. New scenery might turn it around.
10 CORKY BARAN This year has to be considered a disappointment for The Baran. That being said, he can call on that back class anytime.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 7-4-6-8
H Horse Comment
1 BIG RED Lifetime mark is still on a county fair. Last pair of starts have been better, but he will need to step up his game to contend here.
2 HE’S UNBELIEVABLE Record stands at just 2 for 39, so it is hard to endorse on the win end. Sits in and hopes to tow along for a share.
3 IM A NICE SKY Just 2 for 31 in his career and his recent for has gone the wrong way. Needs a form reversal in this spot. Longshot.
4 DOOMSDAY HANOVER Hard to argue with his current form at Plainridge. The one month layoff is a concern. Still looks like a contender.
5 MAJORLY BAD Made his second start off the 8 month layoff a winning one. This is much tougher than a $10k condition claimer though.
6 FRESH DREAM Winner of that qualifier has made just $5,175 in his career. First start back off a 2 month layoff. Still fits in this spot. Maybe.
7 THE GREEN KNIGHT See how Prince Sharka did in the 1st race. Saratoga form is in and out. Long stretch may fit him well. Interesting.
8 CAMAGINARY WESTERN He shows some decent miles at Dover, but his last start was not very good. A turnaround puts him in the mix.
9 NATIVE SPEED Gelding has won nearly half his starts this year. His last pair have not been very inspiring though. I want to see one first.
10 DEBT OF HONOR Beaten a long way in that qualifier, albeit by a nice horse. Colonial is a very fast track, so that mark is suspect.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 9-6-4-7
H Horse Comment
1 WINSUM MAGIC More often than not, you aren’t winning from 11 lengths back at Yonkers. Still needs to turn things around in this spot.
2 ITS OUTTA HERE Added Lasix last time and he stopped badly. That is a concern for me and I’ll need to see an improved effort first.
3 GAELIC THUNDER His last pair of efforts are good and they stack up well against this group. Speed should make him prominent early on.
4 BLUE CLAW He looked good in his return to qualifying action and it looks like Ford has him primed for a good effort here. A contender.
5 BUBBIE BOY Form has been somewhat dull lately. He actually did his best work in the Daryl Bier barn earlier in the year. Needs rebound.
6 FEELIN CORNERED He got on a nice roll at The Spa, but that Yonkers race came up tough. This should be more to his liking. Possibility.
7 NORTHERN BREAKOUT Burke snatched this gelding up from the Midwest, but burnt a lot of money in Philly. Expect an improved effort.
8 EVERGREEN POWER Scored in nw2 company earlier in the year here, but has just 1 start and a sick scratch in the past month. Passing.
9 BEWARE OF DARKNESS We know he likes this racetrack and his recent form has been decent. Has speed too. Looks like a player.
10 SOCIAL NETWORK Horse has always been high on talent, but brings questions too. Surick has him prepped. We’ll see if he is ready.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 8-9-7-5
H Horse Comment
1 ROYAL MEETING That was a solid race he is coming out of and he went a tough first over trip. Wouldn’t be surprised by a big race here.
2 TIREMAN Just had too much to do last time. Previous win at Yonkers was sharp with a big final quarter. Seems to always offer value too.
3 WHO DAT LOVE Hasn’t been the same horse since he left Philly. Not sure what to make of that. Inclined to watch one and tab for later.
4 THAT’S JUSTICE If you throw out his last 2 starts from outside posts in Philly, the form looks much better. Perfect Pierce Piloting Possible.
5 LETTHEROCKBEGIN His current form makes him tough to leave off the tickets, but he doesn’t win that often. Best used underneath.
6 SIR GLOBALOP Z TAM He was caught in a tough spot last time. Love his early speed and he will be a pace factor at the very least.
7 TOM PAINE I like the improvement he showed in his second start off the layoff. Another move forward will put him right in the mix. Player.
8 SO TAKE THAT Responded to the addition of Lasix initially, but his last pair have not been sharp. Has some big miles in Canada. Maybe.
9 R CAAN Toss that last race and he more than fits in this spot. He can really fire off the gate if Gingras chooses. Looks like a major player.
10 VARSITY HANOVER Recent form has been good, but I don’t love a horse with 10 runner-up efforts compared to 3 wins. Tricky call.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 6-1-7-2
H Horse Comment
1 MICKEY HANOVER I have always liked this horse and he has had a nice year. Horse that beat him last time has won 6 in a row. Player.
2 SOUTHWESTERN DREAM That is a nice race he came out in Philly. Prior form was sharp. He loves this track too. Obvious contender.
3 VALENTINO On his best, he can be right there with these. But he just doesn’t appear to be sharp right now. Watch for improvement.
4 CINDERELLA GUY Classy gelding is making just his 17th start of the year. I feel he is a cut below these right now. Looking elsewhere now.
5 BETTOR’S REWARD Beaten just a neck by ‘Shark last time in a rebound effort. Can leave and can come from off the pace. Possibility.
6 WESTERN SHORE Could be set to take a run at The Presidential for an unprecedented 6th time. Let’s see him get off on the right foot!
7 RIVER SHARK A win here would send him past $1 Million lifetime. Respect any horse making his 47th start of the year. Has a big shot.
8 HILLBILLY HANOVER He has knocked heads with some of the best in his division. Now, he tries older horses in a tough spot. Tricky call.
9 NOBLE FALCON Here is one of racing’s newest millionaires. He’s been in tough lately, and this is no exception. Needs his best from here.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 9-10-5-3
H Horse Comment
1 WAYNE THE LEFTY See how River Shark and Bettor’s Reward did in Race 6. Toss out his race from post 7 at Yonkers. He has a big shot.
2 FOUR STARZ TRACE Has turned things around in his last couple of starts. Catches a good group here and this will be a good test for him.
3 RHOMBUS Can’t knock his current form as he has been very solid. Continues to climb the ladder but ignore a sharp horse at your own risk.
4 GEORGETOWN N That was a big effort from post 7, but last time it proved to be too much. He’s an interesting horse in a wide open race.
5 ELECTROFIRE There are few in the game with better numbers off the claim than Casie Coleman. That fact alone will bring plenty of play.
6 VILLAGE BEAT Just had too much to do last time, but his previous effort was good. This is a tough bunch, but he has a fighting chance.
7 HI HO STEVERINO It’s hard to figure out where the value is in this race. Connections will bring some attention and he is in good form too!
8 HEMER’S CARD SHARK Held his own against a good group last time and shows a nice win 3 back as well. Still expect him to be a price.
9 MUSSELSFRMBRUSSELS Yet another horse in this event that is in excellent form. Added bonus, he loves the bigger tracks! The pick!
10 SILVER EAGLE For the most part, he is coming out of tougher races that ‘Mussels and his form is decent. Contention runs very deep!
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 3-4-7-9
H Horse Comment
1 LINDWOOD PLAYER Off for 3 weeks following that sick scratch. His previous form at Dover was sharp. Interesting piece to this puzzle.
2 TOP OF THE MARK Rebounded nicely last time and this is a horse that likes to win. If he can build off his last, then he has a shot here.
3 BULLET SPEED Not too long ago he was pacing in sub 1:51 in Canada. This is another interesting purchase for Surick. One to watch.
4 GO WEST LUCKY CAM Just another sharp horse in another wide open race. Ridgling can do it on the lead or from off the pace. Player.
5 TREND SPOTTER Enters this off a 3 week layoff and he was racing OK prior to the break. That being said, feel there is value elsewhere.
6 TAKEMEWITHYOU He is another that has been racing well, but at levels a bit softer than most of these. Taking a wait and see approach.
7 RESCUE PLAN Recent tries have been OK as well and he falls into the mix with many of these. I will say he has been in some fast miles.
8 MR DENNIS Beat an odds on favorite last time on a class drop. Don’t look now, but here is another horse that has been sharp lately!
9 FLEM N EM N His last three starts when compared to the rest of the field aren’t anything special. But you cannot ignore these connections.
10 NO BU Why not round this field out with a horse coming off a win from a tough spot last time? He continues to be slammed with bad posts.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 5-4-6-8
H Horse Comment
1 MIAS BOLD MANEUVER Has a couple of no chance miles from post 8 at Yonkers. Toss those. Still catches a tough group in this spot.
2 SIR ZIGGY’S Z TAM See how Western Shore did in the 6th Race. Making just his 2nd start in the past 4 months. Inclined to watch this one.
3 IRON TRAIN Nice confidence builder last time. The water does get much deeper here though. Is he ready for this? Tricky call at this point.
4 A SWEET RIDE Another toss out mile last time. His prior efforts were good including a narrow loss to Tobago Cays. He is a major player.
5 VOICE OF TRUTH He had some pace in the lane last time. It’s not easy to close like that in Philly. A candidate to improve on the big track.
6 MORTAL ZIN Like ‘Sweet, this is also a three year old. He has faced some really good horses this year. I wouldn’t sell too short in here.
7 PANSAI YAMAMOTO Looked like he needed that qualifier as he enters this off a near 6 week layoff. Just too many other options this time.
8 ROCKSTAR TEMPER Nice win last time over a good horse in OK Braveheart. Gelding has rounded into form and must be left in the mix.
9 FAMEOUS WESTERN He has been racing pretty well recently. Worth noting he finished 2nd behind ‘Sweet in November. Might offer value.
10 GRAMS LEGACY Always believed this guy had a world of ability, but he doesn’t always deliver his best. This level might be too high.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 2-6-4-9
H Horse Comment
1 KEYSTONE RAPTOR Enters this off a lame scratch and has now been off 4 weeks. Raced well at this level before. I will watch this one.
2 DUTCH RICHMAN He has been successful on the bigger track before and his last pair indicate he will appreciate the longer stretch. Pick.
3 SONIC RAIDER Gelding has been a hot commodity at the claim box lately and with the exception of one post 8 start, he has been sharp!
4 ETHAN HANOVER Nice win last time at Philly. That was a quick mile. This is a step up, but ignore a sharp Burke horse at your own risk.
5 TOUCH AND GO Yes, he was 91-1 last time. But that was a game try from post 8. Can he put together back to back miles? Offers a price.
6 LINE OFFICER He has been racing decent of late, but seems to lack the knockout punch. He is proven at this track and could bring value.
7 ROADSIDE DELIGHT This is a very fast horse. Making just his 40th lifetime start at the end of his 4YO season. See how Blue Claw did too.
8 DINNER GUEST Has been the beneficiary of some luck at the post-position draw. Does he have the same speed from this draw? We’ll see.
9 FAT MANS ALLEY He came from a very tough spot to earn a share last time. This is the right level for him and he can close for a share.
10 MAJOR STONE Class relief didn’t seem to help last time and now he draws the far outside. I need to see some improvement first.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 9-3-5-4
H Horse Comment
1 B L WATTARIDE Winner of that qualifier was 8th, from post 8 at Yonkers in nw18000. Off for 8 weeks so I am going to watch a start.
2 NATHAN FEELSGOOD Exits the Western Shore qualifier. Like the progress he is making. Off 4 months though. Watching one here also.
3 SHAWS CREEK BUFF Ships down from Canada off a decent qualifier. Winner of that event was 7th in nw18500 at Woodbine. Tricky read.
4 VODKA IS TERROR Hard to argue with his current form, but it’s always different to carry it over to M1. Still, he has to be a contender.
5 TOUGH LOVE Looks like the 9YO is rounding into form right now, but that 1 for his last 70 jumps off the page. Using him underneath.
6 WESTERN VICTORY He has early speed, that’s for sure. But I do have some concerns with him carrying his speed all the way at M1.
7 FAST BILL Another that has been in good form at The Spa, but he is taking a pretty big move up in class. Let’s see him do it here first.
8 CC RACY Last effort at Freehold wasn’t bad, despite being the beaten favorite. The price will be better now and he has won here before.
9 BROOKSTONE Sharp win last time on the class drop while debuting for Burke. See how that barn has been trending up til this point.
10 STAND BY CAM Beat ‘CC by a neck last time, but catches the worst of the draw. Pierce will have to fire out for position to get involved.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 2-1-4-3
H Horse Comment
1 BUCKEYE IN CHARGE Not a bad effort last time. The runner-up raced on Friday, so see how he did. He fits at this level. Contender.
2 TRADE EDITOR Continues to slide down the class ladder and that has to make him dangerous here. Brings plenty of early speed too.
3 PRESTISSIMO Good effort to be a fast closing 2nd last time at Philly. Connections may have figured him out. Dangerous with a trip.
4 JUSTIN ART Saved ground and snuck up for a big piece last time. Have a feeling this is going to be a bit tougher. Bottom of exotic tickets.
5 HURRIKANE ANTHONY He has gone some solid miles here in 2012, but this is a sizeable step up in class. I need to watch one first.
6 DREAMZZZZ R FOR U Form has been just even lately and he is winless in 33 starts this year. That being said, he can work out a trip here.
7 GENERAL MONTGOMERY Pulled off the upset over another longshot Prestissimo last time. Was that a fluke? Still might offer a price.
8 JOE PALZ Lightly raced 4YO has talent and slides down a touch in claiming price. Recent form has been dull and Pierce opted off, though.
9 FULL CIRCLE SPIRIT He consistently loses ground in the stretch and that is a major concern for me coming to the mile track. I’ll pass.
10 ALLOVERAMERICA Stepping up into a tough spot here. Miller will have to find some speed to get him involved early. Longshot.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 11-2-3-8
H Horse Comment
1 PARADISE WILLIE Last couple of spot have been better, but this race came up very tough. Taking a wait and see approach at this point.
2 SEA ME NOW No chance last time and could be poised for better making his third start off the layoff. Inclined to leave him in the mix.
3 MAR DREAM Talk about sharp, this horse has been in the exacta about 60% of the time. Speed in a big field. He might be the one to beat.
4 GIDDY UP DELIGHT Caught a tough trip last time, but if you throw that start out, he is awfully consistent. Might offer decent value in here.
5 PAN GRAD Recent form has been dull at The Spa and Pierce opted off. Just 1 for 29 on the year as well. He looks like a longshot.
6 ON THE RADAR His form has been just even lately, but could find himself in a live cover flow from this spot. Using him underneath.
7 ESPIRIT DE KAYJAY A Expecting to see Andy get aggressive from here and send. Horse has ability and could be involved for a share.
8 SCOTTY MACH N Tetrick opted here over Mar Dream. Coleman had this gelding pretty sharp. Looks like one of the prime contenders.
9 OYSTER BAY Caught a couple of tough draws at Yonkers and this horse is in better form than you think. Outside in a crowded field.
10 TIDEWATER TOMAHAWK Slid down the ladder, but he did not respond to the class relief. Post 10 in a 12-horse field is awfully tough.
11 AROCKIN HANOVER This horse has a big chance here. As long as he can find his way through traffic, sharp gelding is a win candidate.
12 PENCE HANOVER Just an even effort off the 4 week layoff last time. Has won here this year. Still going to watch this time around.